On October 1, 2020, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published an advisory that highlights the risk of potential U.S. sanctions law violations if U.S. individuals and businesses comply with ransomware payment demands.1
Ransomware attacks use malware, often injected through phishing schemes, to encrypt a victim’s data files or programs, followed by a ransom demand by the threat actor that offers the decryption key in exchange for payment. Payment is often demanded in bitcoin, and thus third-party services are often used to make such payments. Increasingly, ransomware attacks not only lock data up but steal data from the victim and threaten to publish sensitive files belonging to victims. According to OFAC, ransomware attacks have been increasing over the last two years and are a special risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, with cybercriminals targeting not only large corporations but also small to medium enterprises, hospitals, schools, and local government agencies.2
*This article was adapted from “Global Overview,” appearing in The Privacy, Data Protection and Cybersecurity Law Review (7th Ed. 2020)(Editor Alan Charles Raul), published by Law Business Research Ltd., and first published by the International Association of Privacy Professionals Privacy Perspectives series on September 28, 2020.
Privacy, like everything else in 2020, was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers and governments have been required to consider privacy in adjusting workplace practices to account for who has a fever and other symptoms, who has traveled where, who has come into contact with whom, and what community members have tested positive or been exposed.
As a result of all this need for tracking and tracing, governments and citizens alike have recognized the inevitable trade-offs between exclusive focus on privacy versus exclusive focus on public health and safety.
The U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) soliciting comments to identify foundational technologies essential to U.S. national security by October 26, 2020 (the Foundational Technologies ANPRM). The ANPRM is only one step in a multiyear process through which the U.S. government transforms the regulations restricting the availability of U.S.-sourced technology in the global marketplace.
This long-awaited ANPRM launches an intra-agency review process required under Section 1758 of the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA), which Congress passed in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (2019 NDAA). ECRA directed BIS to identify and establish controls on the export, reexport, or transfer (in country) of emerging and foundational technologies essential to the national security of the United States. On November 19, 2018, BIS issued an ANPRM on identification of emerging technologies (the Emerging Technologies ANPRM), indicating that a separate notice for foundational technologies was forthcoming.
Today’s Foundational Technologies ANPRM can be found here. Sidley’s prior updates on ECRA and the Emerging Technologies ANPRM can be found here.1 Here we summarize five key takeaways from today’s notice.
In almost the first three quarters of 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) has settled three cases related to alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), totaling $1,165,000. These settlements underscore OCR’s continued focus on enforcement of the HIPAA Security Rule.
On August 14, 2020, California’s Office of Administrative Law approved and filed with the California Secretary of State final regulations implementing the California Consumer Privacy Act. The regulations, drafted by California’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG), went through three rounds of changes during the rulemaking process and were finally enacted more than two years after the CCPA was signed into law. The CCPA is a landmark state privacy law that grants consumers new privacy rights, and requires businesses to enhance disclosures about their data practices and facilitate consumer privacy rights. (more…)
On July 21, 2020, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS or the Department) issued a statement of charges and notice of hearing (the Statement) against First American Title Insurance Company (First American) for violations of the Department’s Cybersecurity Requirements for Financial Services Companies, 23 N.Y.C.R.R. Part 500 (Cybersecurity Regulation or Regulation). The First American Statement of charges alleges six violations of the Cybersecurity Regulation and marks the Department’s first action pursuant to the Regulation, which is enforced by the recently created NYDFS Cybersecurity Division.1
NYDFS’s Statement seeks relief against First American, including civil monetary penalties and an order requiring First American to remediate any defined violations. Although the Statement does not include a calculation of the total penalty, the NYDFS explains that the civil monetary fines against First American are to be assessed pursuant to the Financial Services Law, which provides for a maximum civil monetary penalty of $1,000 per violation of the Regulation.2 Because First American’s violations included the exposure of millions of documents containing nonpublic information (NPI), the total penalty potentially could be substantial. The First American hearing is scheduled to occur on October 26, 2020, at the NYDFS.
(*As with all posts, this article is for informational purposes only; Sidley Austin LLP does not have offices in or practice law in Brazil; Felipe Saraiva is a former Sidley associate licensed to practice law in Brazil.)
The enactment of Law n. 13.709/2018 (the Brazilian Data Protection Law, or “LGPD”) in 2018 was followed by great enthusiasm from the general public in Brazil. Indeed, the comprehensive law has been viewed as a necessary measure for the country to join a select but growing group of nations in the systematic protection of individuals’ personal data.
Originally, the LGPD provided for a 12-month grace period for its enforcement; however, this term was subsequently extended to 24 months, as legislators understood the initial time frame wouldn’t give companies enough time to adapt. As previously analyzed in an article by these authors published on January 20, 2020, the LGPD’s provisions require a great deal of compliance effort from all organizations that are subject to the law.
In view of the current crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19, the compliance difficulties companies are facing, and the fact that the actual creation of the National Agency of Data Protection (“ANPD”) called for in the law is still pending, Brazilian legislators are further extending the LGPD’s grace period; these legislators now indicate that enforcement of the law’s general provisions are extended to May 3, 2021, while its legal sanctions would become enforceable as of August 1, 2021.
These informal video chats, moderated by Sidley partner Alan Raul, are designed to help fill the COVID-19 induced privacy discussion drought. We look forward to hearing what is on the mind of key data protection and cybersecurity thought leaders from both public and private sectors. Each chat will be relatively brief, leaving some time to address participant questions via our virtual space. Please feel free to suggest any topics you would be interested to hear addressed by contacting email@example.com.
On June 25, 2020, Sidley partner, Alan Raul, founder and co-head of Sidley’s privacy and cybersecurity practice, hosted Bruno Gencarelli, head of International Data Flows and Protection at the European Commission, for a Monitor-Side Chat.
The discussion focused largely on the Commission’s report on two years of the GDPR which was issued on 24 June 2020. Key themes of the report include:
- EU data protection authorities (“DPAs”) should increase their efforts towards the adoption of a harmonised approach to responding to cross-border investigations;
- a call for greater resources to be given to DPAs by EU Member States to ensure the GDPR is sufficiently enforced;
- a need for greater consistency among EU Member States on interpretations of the GDPR in national laws in order to avoid unnecessary burdens on companies; and
- greater utilisation of the data portability right under the GDPR to ensure individuals have greater involvement in the digital economy by enabling them to switch between different service providers and make use of other innovative services.
The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), a proposed initiative to codify far-reaching amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and sometimes referred to as “CCPA 2.0”, is back in play and heading to the November 2020 ballot. A series of dramatic procedural twists and turns culminated with initiative backers successfully obtaining a writ of mandate directing the Secretary of State to direct counties to verify signatures for the ballot proposal by the June 25th Constitutional deadline. This verification involved each county conducting a random sample of the more than 800,000 signatures that proponents had submitted to place the initiative on the ballot.
Before the California court’s ruling, observers were skeptical that signatures could be verified before the deadline. Initiative proponents were almost two weeks behind the recommended schedule when they delivered signatures to be verified by California’s 58 counties. This meant counties had until June 26th to verify signatures — a day after the June 25th Constitutional deadline. Experience with other initiatives this year had shown that several large counties were waiting until the deadline to complete verifications, so proponents petitioned the court to push the deadline up by a day in order to meet the Constitutional deadline. The court agreed to do so, finding good cause existed to force counties to complete verifications a day early. And, as it happened, the extra time was not needed, as counties finished the count two days ahead of their initial deadline.